Sunday, December 11, 2011

All The Secret Things

Title:  All The Secret Things
Author:  Sheila Cragg
Publication Information:  Potter's Hand Publishing. 2011. 378 pages.

Book Source:  I received this book through the LibraryThing Member Giveaway program free of cost in exchange for an honest review. The book was delivered through Smashwords.

Favorite Quote:  All I desired was a loving home, a safe place to be, a place of peace, of genuine caring.

All The Secret Things is the story of Emily. The above quote summarizes Emily's journey throughout the book. The book begins with Emily as a child and goes through her life as she becomes an adult with a family of her own. She experiences things no child should - neglect, abandonment, abuse. Throughout her journey, she also has people who seem to love her. She experiences the love, but it is overshadowed by the losses and the secrets. "All the secret things" are the secrets her family keeps about her parents' relationship and her birth.

Throughout this book, you feel for Emily and everything she suffers. It is also maddening that no adults in her life are able to protect her from neglect, abandonment, and abuse. It is a story of strong emotions. However, it feels like sometimes the book tries too hard. The situations in Emily's life are rather extreme, and it ends up being a little unbelievable that no one, not even those who love her, is able to stop them or even temper them. For some, justifications are given why nothing is done. However, the characters seem to embody one main character trait and not develop throughout the book. As such, the justifications ring untrue.

The secrets of Emily's life are about her birth. The secrets are revealed as the book nears its end. However, at that point, the book is more about her life experiences and her suffering. As a reader, the secrets do not seem to matter. What matters is how Emily is able to survive her childhood. 


  1. Thank you for your insightful review of my novel. One thing I tried to convey through Emily’s story was her courage and resilience in light of such abuse. During the 1940’s there were few to no child protection agencies and people minded their own business. Unfortunately, that still goes on today. Abusive parents live in denial, detach themselves from the problem, diminish the severity of the problem, and distance themselves. I call them the deadly D’s, and they are very powerful if not unbreakable family traits. As a young girl, Emily determined to make a positive difference in the lives of children when she grew up. Through it all Emily had friends who cared for her and loved her as their own. She came to realize that the love and bonds of friendship (Youngquist family) were greater than blood relationships. I do see that I should have revealed more directly about how she survived her childhoods. Again I do appreciate your review.

  2. Thank you Sheila for sharing your book and for taking the time to read my review. It is so crucial to draw attention to this topic and to keep our children - all children - safe.